Hilary Clinton Vs Donald Trump

Hillary ClintonIt looks like this election is going to be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In general, I’ve thought that Bernie Sanders would have been the better candidate against Trump. Now I don’t especially think that. For one thing, I’ve noted of late that Sanders doesn’t have the greatest campaign. He is right to say that he’s just the figurehead of a movement. And that movement is made up of people like me — people who feel the the Democratic Party has moved way too far to the right. And in that way, Sanders is a supporter of me, not the other way around.

But now, I’m thinking that Hillary Clinton really will be hard for any Republican to beat. I was very impressed with both Clinton and Sanders Thursday night. But I have to admit, every time I see Clinton she makes me think what I thought of Bill Clinton: there’s someone who the American people can think of as a president. She’s extremely good at all this. She walks a fine line that wouldn’t be necessary if she weren’t a woman, and she does it brilliantly. As I’ve stated from the beginning, she’s not my first choice, but she’s a fine choice.

Meanwhile, last week, BuzzFeed reported, In 2002, Donald Trump Said He Supported Invading Iraq. In September 2002, Howard Stern asked if he was in favor of the Iraq War, and Trump said, “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” This isn’t a surprise at all. The vast majority of people supported the war at that time. What’s more, a vast number of people today who did support the war back then claim that they didn’t. And you can say a lot of things about Trump, but the truth is that he is a typical American:

Iraq War Support Then and Now

I don’t think this is much going to hurt Donald Trump in the Republican primary. Nothing seems to hurt him in the Republican primary. But the opposition research on Donald Trump has to be so ridiculously extensive that he would be dead meat in the general election if he weren’t already deeply disliked. I understand that he was deeply disliked in the Republican Party before he started winning. But the truth is that he is still still deeply disliked in the Republican Party. Of course, they will all fall in line behind him eventually. But the only reason he is popular is because he willing to be deeply offensive to the one demographic group that the Republicans absolutely must get 30% to 40% of the vote from : Latinos.

So I have to provide my standard disclaimer: if the economy tanks, the Republicans have a really good shot at giving the Republicans the White House. But barring that, I don’t see them winning the election. Their only hope on that front would be to make this election on national security. (That would be ridiculous given how safe we are here at home, but stranger things have happened.) On that front, Bernie Sanders might be vulnerable. But Clinton wouldn’t be. If this is a national security election, Clinton is the best candidate there is. (That’s one of my biggest concerns about her!)

So the election is shaping up to be one that the Democrats win by default. If they don’t, it is because they screwed it up. But assuming Clinton is the candidate, I just want to say a word to my fellow Sanders supporters: you have to vote for Clinton. There never was going to be a political revolution. If you want to see real change in this country, then you have to fight for it, not this election cycle, but for the next four, five, six election cycles. Imagine how different things would have been in young people showed up at the polls in 2010 and Obama had had another two, four, or six years with a Democratic Congress? Whether Clinton or Sanders, or even Trump or Cruz, wins on 8 November 2016, the work doesn’t stop. It continues on and on until some things like universal healthcare and guaranteed income are truly taken for granted.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

26 thoughts on “Hilary Clinton Vs Donald Trump

  1. “But I have to admit, every time I see Clinton she makes me think what I thought of Bill Clinton: there’s someone who the American people can think of as a president.”

    Mm-hmm, that’s where we are different. My first impression of Bill Clinton was quite literally, “there’s a transparent snakeoil salesman who I wouldn’t trust with a plugged nickel”. Hillary had even less going for her and has gotten worse since. She’s still a Young Republican at heart. I agree though that she is a totally conventional presidential candidate — who can be counted on to continue the march toward corporatism and authoritarian politics (New & Improved with Moar Wimmen Power).

    • Yeah, but I’m not talking about what you and I may think of her. When Bill Clinton was elected, I was a libertarian. But he reminded me very much of JFK. Now that’s a man I have very little respect for, but the country loves. I’d vote for Noam Chomsky. But I don’t fool myself into thinking that the nation would. As a whole, we are just just big brain apes with pecking orders and all kinds of other horrible habits. Look at Trump. Most of the Republicans who are repulsed by him only feel that way because they were told to. If the Republican establishment and Fox News were pro-Trump, he’d be getting 70% of the Republican primary vote.

      • I’m not unaware that I’m usually an outlier, that’s one reason I try to avoid making predictions. Even after the fact, I still get massive cognitive dissonance from thinking about people actually voting for Reagan and George W. But I get the same brain pain from Nader-hating Dems, say, who magically erase things like Gore’s VP pick from their memory. Just between us though, I think all the folks who expect Hillary to walk over Trump are in for a nasty surprise if that’s the scenario.

  2. Yesterday was interesting to me in how much the media really is livid that Clinton keeps standing. I was watching the results on the Guardian app and they kept calling it a “narrow win” for the longest time even after it hit five points. Oh well. They should be happy, they get to complain about her for the rest of the cycle. At least until they pivot on a dime when she debates Trump.

    Which I am very much looking forward to. :D

    • This is something I’ve written about a lot. It’s this idea that if Clinton doesn’t win big, she didn’t win. And it’s an insult to Sanders too. The implication is not that he’s doing well but that she’s doing poorly. Two months ago, she was dominant in Nevada. And if Sanders had done that well in December, it would have been a shocker. As it was, Clinton did pretty much exactly as the polls said she would. I’ve pretty much stopped writing about the Democratic primary because it is over. It’s actually the best thing that could have happened to Clinton. Now she has an opponent who she can fight with for the next couple of months, who is popular enough for it to be interesting, but not popular enough to actually win. My question: will Paul Krugman stop writing almost exclusively about Sanders now? Sources say… no! He apparently hasn’t noticed that there’s actually a lot of really interesting things going on in economics. But what’s most important is that the kids and the hippies have to be taught the lesson that Democrats can only be so liberal on economic issues.

      • I’ve read that Bernie’s promised not to quit until the convention. Normally I would discount such a statement, but this time around… maybe not.

      • Eh, I don’t think it is quite that with Krugman but sure, he could be just a cranky old man. He is in the right age bracket after all.

        Sanders peaked too soon however I think that is what he wanted, he certainly doesn’t want to actually be President because otherwise his non-economic ideas would be better articulated. He would do a better job at controlling his surrogates. However he has forced Clinton to improve on her non-economics and despite what people think, yes, that does matter to some voters.

        • I don’t think Bernie really wanted to run either, he seems to be doing it because no one else wanted to. That’s a large part of his appeal, though. If you compare his ads to Hillary’s, you notice that whereas her ads are all about her, his mostly emphasize his supporters. People who criticize him for not articulating specific programs are missing the point. His whole campaign is centered around restoring democracy, not pushing a particular candidate and platform. Can you think of any other candidate who would step aside and let unruly protesters have the mike?

          • McGovern or Eugene McCarthy, maybe. Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, Bobby Seale. Some old-school believers in democracy of that sort. We can get back to having candidates like that, but it’s going to take organization and education before we do.

            I don’t think it can be overstated how much the left got lazy. All the victories we won for human dignity, which came with such a terrible price, resulted in so much improvement that people forgot how bad things were before labor/equal rights struggles. So it’s almost as if our side decided all the hard work wasn’t necessary anymore. Not just the hard work of getting out the vote. The harder work of realizing what each person who cares is capable of contributing and coordinating these efforts.

            I was at a rally for better pay for workers with the disabled some years ago at the state capitol. It was a sad affair. We had our signs, we had no energy (it was, at that time, a Republican-led state government.) At one point, a man jumped up and started leading chants. He was of Latino heritage, talked about being an immigrant, and you bet your butt Latino leftists are accustomed to participating in popular movements against far scarier opposition than a Republican state government.

            Within two minutes, he had all of us energized. He had enthusiasm and optimism so contagious, we marched into the building and confronted the local GOP legislature’s head honcho office. Did that accomplish anything? No. But it made us more excited to take part in public protest than we’d been for two gloomy hours previously. And made many want to participate in more protests in the future.

            That’s where organization is the key. Realizing what different people can provide. Getting them in sync. Some can lead inspirational chants. Some can bake cookies or give car rides. Many care enough to get involved yet feel they are worthless if they aren’t handcuffing themselves to offensive statues; that’s not remotely correct. Anyone who gives a damn can play a part.

            We learned, through trial-and-error, how to make the most of all the passionate people out there. It’s not impossible to learn it again. But there is just so much experience we’ve forgotten, because once upon a time, we were making American life vastly better and we assumed planning/strategy weren’t necessary anymore, the tide was turning on our side.

            The left forgot how insane fascism/conservatism is. It will never admit it’s wrong. And it will gladly wait years, decades, to undermine any politics which don’t empower the wealthiest uber alles.

          • I have not seen much down ticket effort from him but I will be happy to be surprised if he changes after he loses.

          • I’m not so sure that you and Elizabeth are right. But the fact is that Bernie is a figurehead of a movement. And the slogan for that movement should be, “Democrats are supported to be liberal, stupid!”

        • I’m not sure you’re right about Sanders. But there is no doubt that he succeeded in whatever it was that he was trying to do more than he was expecting. I don’t think he peaked too soon. I think he peaked at the perfect time and it is just that he is not quite popular enough to win the nomination. When he first got in the race, I gave him an upper limit of support of 25%, because I figured that he would appeal to people like me: people on the left of the Democratic Party. If you look at the RCP average, it is currently ~40%. That’s amazing. And I know a lot of Sanders supporters are unhappy that he is not going to win the nomination. But his success is a great thing for the Democratic Party. It’s possible, of course, that the establishment will just ignore all this. But let’s face it: if it hadn’t been Clinton running, Sanders would have won the nomination. And the establishment needs to understand that the base is a whole lot more liberal than the establishment and it needs to start appealing to that liberal base. Clinton is both a more liberal and a better candidate now because of Bernie Sanders. And we are going to have a totally awesome convention. And Sanders is going to be a great surrogate for Clinton.

          Clinton may now be the leader of the Democratic Party, but it is Sanders who has reshaped it.

          • I believe the current count of voted delegates (non-superdelegate) is 51/51, and it’s likely that most Dem voters had never heard of Sanders a year ago.

            I wish I were as sanguine as you, Frank, but I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that Hillary will change anything but her rhetoric — not just because the hoi-polloi got restless.

            • I don’t know that I’m sanguine. I think Clinton will be Obama II. But regardless what happens, we Sanders supports should feel good. Nationally, he has 40% of the Democratic Party. And it isn’t because he’s this amazingly charismatic guy (although he certainly has a grumpy avuncular charm). It is because there is a movement — and a much more substantial one than the “hope and change” nonsense of Obama. Sanders also makes the chances of a charismatic young socialist in 2020 or 2024 a lot more likely.

              I don’t think that Clinton will take us backwards. And Sanders has taken us forward. If you haven’t read it, I recommend John Hudak’s If Clinton Wins in November, She’ll Have Sanders to Thank. What I’d really like to see is a lot of young Sanders supporters going into politics. I’d like to see the left take over the Democratic Party the way the crazy far right managed to take over the Republican Party. (Of course, economic populism entering the Democratic Party will be presented as radical, but it doesn’t much matter what the media think — they are just apologists for their upper-class lifestyles with their diversified stock portfolios.)

              And the last couple of months have been interesting watching liberal pundits like Krugman and Chait freak-out about Sanders in a totally distorted way. I was thinking tonight, “Where was Krugman’s article about the ridiculous claims that there was a gender gap in Sanders’ support? There was a lot of total nonsense coming out of the Clinton campaign, but it never bothered Krugman and Chait. Only Sanders and Bernie-Bros were worth writing about. It’s good to see these guys shaken up. It sucks when you get older and find that you aren’t the most liberal person in the room — that you’ve become the establishment apologist. I think Krugman, in particular, has greatly hurt his reputation.

              But Sanders and the movement he’s led has been a huge success and we need to celebrate that. It would be a major mistake to slink away thinking that we lost because we didn’t win everything. If the Democratic Party doesn’t learn from this, it is as lost as the Republican Party. And I just don’t think that.

          • I think the establishment (at least the office holders) get something the base doesn’t-when you take office you no longer represent the base. The pundits not being liberal enough? Fair point.

            This is going to sound so patronizing or something from me but the difference I see in the current crop of youngsters showing up to vote from my batch of over thirties but under fifties (which is now being totally ignored by the media) is the lack of sustained effort. We did show up in the mid-terms starting in 2002 but somehow the same turnout disappeared in 2010. I don’t know why. We also ran for offices in greater numbers. In my area there was a time when everyone up to congress was under 35. And at one point, everyone was under 30 for bottom four offices. Now? We have one guy who is under 35.

            That is why turnout isn’t higher. Sure, as I keep being lectured at on Twitter, Sanders got a lot of people out in New Hampshire but he is no Obama.

            • Was turnout good in 2002? The Republicans did really well and that usually means bad turnout. Young people are always, well, young. It’s almost what defines them. :-)

              • Yes but there are young people and then there are young people.

                I would have to go look up the numbers and I should finish with my homework so I am going to be lazy.

  3. When the only choice is between unacceptable candidates, I don’t vote for any of them. When I was young and zealous, that meant voting for a third-party candidate; now, I stay home and let those who do harbor opinions express them at the ballot box. I get a bit of flack for that; I am often seen as integral to the wrong candidate’s (but never the right one’s) victory. In a sense, though, I’m merely subjugating my own will to that of the People. This is, after all, what democracy is all about.

    • So then two questions:

      1. Does this mean you ignore the rest of the ticket?
      2. Why don’t you run for office so you can have a candidate who represents all of your own values?

      • Agreed. Dr. Noam always used to say that if you live in an area where the election is guaranteed, vote your conscience, be it third-party, skipping that part of the ballot, whatever. But if you live an an area where it’s going to be close, vote Democrat like crazy. Al Franken only won after like a trillion recounts. Our ballot measures against a gay-marriage ban and voter ID laws needed all the volunteer help they could get; both measures came from way behind in the polls to squeak out victories.

        If you can’t do cold-calls as a volunteer, you can offer to fold envelopes, assemble lawn signs, all kinds of things. (I can’t do cold-calls.)

        My favorite volunteer thing? For the gay-marriage initiative, I was handed stacks and stacks of contact cards to enter into a database. Most of these were collected by volunteers at gay bars. So most of the contact info was inscrutable drunken scrawls! I used bits and pieces of the info to guess what was scrawled, then went on the internet to make educated guesses. If there’s a “Sven Hanson” who’s a sportscar salesman living in the suburbs and a “Sven Hansen” who’s a theater major at the U, I pretty much assumed I should type Hansen’s info into the database. That was fun!

        • These days out here there is not much to do besides put together packets, walk and phone unless you are 19. Then you do the computer stuff.

        • Yeah it was a bit mean of me but why throw stones at the people who run for office when you don’t or won’t? It isn’t easy to put yourself out there knowing how much people will hate you just for running for office.

    • As Juan Jose Linz pointed out, presidential systems are unstable. But I think by not voting, you allow the system to get more and more unstable. If everyone voted, the Republican Party would be forced to moved to the center, making the system more stable.

      There is something else to consider: there are obligations of citizenship. These are not theoretical. If people do not participate, democracy will turn into autocracy. And it isn’t just a question of federal offices. There are probably big differences between the candidates at the local level, and they are likely to have a much bigger impact on your life. As a citizen, I think you at least have an obligation to check out all the candidates and decide if there is not enough of a difference for you to vote from one over the other. And the third parties are helped by your vote in a number of ways (like not having to qualify to be on the ballot the next year). So consider re-engaging.

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